Saturday, May 31, 2014

Fringe Naked


Twenty years ago, a boyfriend asked you if you might consider trying bestiality.  When you couldn’t muster a prompt reply, he clarified by narrowing the range down to horses and dogs.  When you still couldn’t say the right thing, he shushed you by placing his big paw over your face and whispering, “Don’t worry about it, baby.  It’s just pillow talk.” 

Once again a man you are interested in has asked you to do something you don’t want to do: go to a nudist resort where “anything goes”.  This man wants to have sex in public.  You start chewing on the inside of your cheek and glancing around the living room.  You want to frown, but you just got Botox, so you can’t.  Since you can’t easily and clearly express your negative reaction to his suggestion, he lets things slide until the next night, when he asks if you have any skin tags.  You would think by now that he would know the answer himself, but of course you’ve both mainly stayed in the dark.

“No,” you say. “And if I did, I’d have them removed.”

That night you have a nightmare in which you’re at the Anything Goes Resort.  You’re walking the beach and you come to a Tiki hut with mirrors hung behind the bar.  You’re naked except for the fact that you are covered with a thousand splendid skin tags hanging from your neck, across your chest, and down your belly.  You are a full-frontal shag carpet of skin tags, all catching the sun and casting tiny shadows on one another.

At first you’re glad for the cover, but then you think, Why am I fringe naked?  Why did I agree to come here and swim in the ocean looking like this?  Your partner is missing too, but you’re almost glad so that no one you know sees you.

*

Weeks later, that guy is history and you have to get your carpets cleaned because you have to get everything clean, including yourself.  You put showering off in favor of just throwing up again, washing your face, and putting yesterday’s clothes on.  You drink half a protein shake and half a glass of wine, then start moving furniture off the carpet onto the tile, or outside. 

You are usually more prepared for men when they arrive, more prepared than this.


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Nap


"Mama."

"Yes baby."

“Tell me about the day I was born.”

My child wobbles around with tomato soup in her belly, my child a small bird with dirt in her toes from this morning. 

“Okay,” I say to my baby, making sure that all the laundry is done and the dishes are put away before we start.  I look for the Hansel and Gretel record she likes.  I put it on and spread out the blanket she likes, then I lie down beside her.  I snuggle her to my chest and think in my arms, Where should I start?

I whisper into her ear, “What do you remember?”  I would like for my child to remember something by herself. 

She falls asleep.

I cannot help but pick her nose and clean her ears while she lies motionless.  Then I lick my fingertips and wipe down her hair.  I wake myself up doing this.  Soon, the older kids will be coming home.

My baby stirs against me and I realize that the Hansel and Gretel record has skipped.  I reach up and put the needle down again.

“Mom,” my baby says again.

I stir around because I know I should be doing something else.  The sun is so bright, the dust in armstrokes across the room.  The other kids will be home soon from school, and then dad, and then supper.  It’s time to get the rest of the dishes done, the beds made, the toys put away.  I sit up and cross my legs, shagging off my dreams.

My child finally awakens and I want to put her back in my belly, the tumble of her hair, her cheeks, her chin.  If I could put her back, I would.  It would buy me the time I need.  I look to the right and left, but no. I have to leave her alone again, this one who is forevermore wanting to come with.

I put the lotion on her skin and lead her into the playroom with a box of Kix.  She finds her toddling motion and goes to stand behind the front door because this is how she likes to wait for the older kids to come home so they can slam her fingers between the hinges, her newest trick. 

I have gotten up, my straggly bones, my electric carpet and the blanket sending sparks.  I go to put my dress and lipstick on.  I try to make the house safe for the next five sets of bones that will soon be crossing the doorstep.  I look over my shoulder at my three-year-old standing by the radiator behind the front door, waiting for the big kids to come home.

“Mom,” she says, yawning by herself with her blanket, sticking her own fingers in her own ears.

“Yes baby,” I say, heating up a cup of coffee and straightening my hair.

She has forgotten the earlier question of the day.